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Storm King sculpture park not recognizing workers union

Dec 05, 2022 12:11 pm

Arvind Dilawar reports for the Times Union that the Storm King Arts Center is refusing to voluntarily recognize their newly formed labor union. “My co-workers and I love working in such a beautiful setting and being able to provide our visitors our different perspectives on the art,” said Marques Villaronga, a visitor services attendant at Storm King and member of the Storm King Art Center Workers Union. “Having a union at Storm King would bring stability and help with worker retention, both of which would create an even better experience for our visitors.” The sculpture park, based in Orange County, is starting a $45 million update of its campus. “The workers love Storm King,” said Jessica Ladlee, communications specialist at Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000, with whom the SKAC Workers Union is organizing. “But love doesn’t pay the bills, so they still need equitable wages and benefits, and know unionizing is the best way to get there.” Storm King officials dispute the union's claim. “Storm King is not refusing to recognize the Union,” said May Mansour, a spokesperson for the museum, “but is rather putting this important matter to vote for all eligible staff.” The union got some Columbia County help as Zach Feuer, co-founder of Forge Project, an indigenous cultural organization in Taghkanic, and former director of Art Omi, a sculpture park in Ghent, sent a letter to Roberta Denning, chair of Storm King’s board of trustees, urging voluntary recognition of the SKAC Workers Union. “I implore you to stop wasting resources on anti-union activity and meaningfully act on your stated values by voluntarily recognizing your staff’s union,” Feuer wrote. The unionization efforts come as other arts workers also want union representation. “We started seeing art museums across the country organizing,” said Villaronga, “and realized that we could make that happen here, too.” Read the full story in the Times Union.